Thursday, August 3, 2017

August 3 Radio History

➦In 1902...orchestra leader Ray Bloch was born in France.  He came to the US in World War I, and headed an orchestra touring in vaudeville.  He provided the music for hundreds of radio shows, including Milton Berle’s, and among dozens of TV assignments was musical director for superstars Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason.  He died March 29 1982 at age 79.

➦In 1907...character actress Irene Tedrow was born in Denver.  Her notable roles in broadcasting include playing Janet the mother (for 13 years) in CBS radio’s Meet Corliss Archer, and neighbour Mrs. Lucy Elkins on CBS-TV’s Dennis the Menace.  She earned an Emmy nomination for her supporting role in the ABC-TV miniseries Eleanor and Franklin, and another for a guest appearance in the NBC-TV series James at 15.  She suffered a stroke and died March 10 1995 at age 87.                                                                        

➦In Larry Haines was born in Mt. Vernon New York.   His first radio role in the 1930s as an actor was on NBC’s Gangbusters. He was the star of Treasury Agent on Mutual in 1947-48, and had the title role of Mike Hammer in Mutual’s That Hammer Guy in 1953-54. It was estimated that he acted in more than 15,000 radio shows in the 1940s and 50s, and later starred in 82 episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.  On TV his best known role was that of next neighbor Stu Bergman on the CBS soap opera Search for Tomorrow. He died July 17 2008 two weeks short of his 90th birthday.

WGY Transmitter 1922

➦In 1922...WGY in Schenectady, NY began what is generally accepted as the first drama series on radio. The first play was “The Wolf” by Eugene Walter, adapted into a 40-minute radio script by local actor Edward H. Smith. When two 2 X 4’s were slapped together to replicate a door slam, radio sound effects were born.

➦In 1958...The Billboard Hot 100 is launched

➦In 1971...ex-Beatles member Paul McCartney formed a new band called Wings.

➦In 1984...legendary Dick Biondi, joined WJMK-FM, Chicago - an oldies-formatted station.

➦In 1986...NYC Personality William B. Williams died of acute anemia and respiratory failure.

Willie B.
In 1954, the originator of the Make Believe Ballroom program in New York, Martin Block, left WNEW 1130 AM for a new job at ABC Radio. Jerry Marshall took over the show for three years, after which Williams was tapped to host the program.

He marked the broadcast as his own, using the distinctive sign-on, "Hello, world", and occasionally identifying himself as "Guilliermo B. Guilliermos" or "Wolfgang B. Wolfgang," although to listeners and friends he was known simply as "Willie B." He combined intimate knowledge of music with his personal anecdotes to create a smooth style that captivated listeners. By 1965 Billboard reported Williams was earning $105,000 a year, tops for the station at that time but slightly less than the other famous Williams, Ted, earned at his baseball peak ($125,000).

Williams developed lasting relationships with the top singers of the Great American Songbook, including Lena Horne and Nat King Cole. Early in his career, he befriended Frank Sinatra when the crooner recorded broadcasts at WNEW. On one broadcast, Williams mused that since Benny Goodman was the "King of Swing" and Duke Ellington was a duke, then Sinatra must have a title as well, suggesting "Chairman of the Board." Sinatra learned of the comment and embraced the title.   Later, when interest in standards flagged, Williams persisted in playing Sinatra's music and is credited with a key role in keeping Sinatra's career afloat. Sinatra, to whom loyalty was a key virtue, never forgot Williams and lauded him to any and all who would listen.

➦In 2004…Radio-TV baseball play-by-play announcer (Mets, Orioles, Red Sox)/Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Murphy died of lung cancer at age 79.

➦In 2007...Ron Lyons died at age 69. Lyons was a San Francisco "Good Guy" on station KEWB-AM in the 1960s (aircheck: Click Here) and also worked stints at KNBR, KFBK, KNEW, and KCBS.

Lyons was born in Asheville, North Carolina. His radio career began in 1955, when he was in high school, spinning rock 'n' roll records, his KCBS. He hit the San Francisco airwaves in 1962 after the Army drafted him and assigned him to the Presidio.

The artists he interviewed over the years included Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.

➦In 2008...Skip Caray TV and radio broadcaster died (b. 1939)

➦In 2013…Classical music announcer/narrator Lloyd Moss, who entertained listeners of WQXR-New York for 33 years during two stints (1955-1971, 1989-2006) at the station, died of Parkinson’s disease at age 86.

Lloyd Moss
Moss came to WQXR in 1954 and by his retirement on Sept. 29, 2006, was one of the longest-serving classical music hosts in the United States. Like many radio personalities of the era, he worked as a voiceover artist and actor, with various credits in television and radio during the 1970s and '80s. Moss was also known for his eclectic outside pursuits: as a children's author, editorial cartoonist, classically-trained trombonist and even a one-time model.

"He was one of the first irreverent announcers. No one did that in the '50s on WQXR," said Anne Moss, referring to the somber, serious reportorial manner of the day. "Lloyd was a segue to a more relaxed and conversational style.”

WQXR host Jeff Spurgeon said Moss's subtle deadpan style could made you sit up and listen. "My favorite example is something he tossed off one day after a cheese commercial,” said Spurgeon. “The spot ended, and Lloyd opened the mic and said, 'What a friend we have in cheeses.' And then he simply gave the weather forecast and introduced whatever piece of music came next, never even winking an eye to the audience."

Moss's interest in music began as a child in Brooklyn, where his father owned a beauty shop that played WQXR on the radio.   Starting in 1946, Moss worked as a radio announcer for stations in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Long Island, as well as WNYC, before joining Voice of America. Because Moss had learned Japanese during his stint in Korea, he was able to get a job as a producer for the Japanese desk. That came to an end when the network moved to Washington, DC. Moss auditioned for WQXR, was hired a relief announcer in 1954, and joined the staff in June 1955.

➦In 2014...New York freeform FM radio legend Steve Post, author of Playing in the FM Band, died at age 70.  First at WBAI and then for nearly 30 years at WNYC, Post was a one-of-a-kind personality who presented a combination of warmth, bitterness, intelligence, mordant humor, and brilliantly on-target observations. Post earlier worked as a newsman for WBLS, after beginning his radio career in the 1960s at WBAI, first as an accountant, then as an air personality and eventually as the station manager.

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